Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Maori economy: insights from the just past Nga Pae conference

So much going on but a potted review offered anyway of last weeks International Indigenous Development Research conference, held at Auckland University.

I was lucky to be in a great session, well chaired by Te Tuhi Robust, that started with an update on Te Awanuiarangi's Te Tupunga Māori - Te Pae Tawhiti, Māori Economic Development Project, a Nga Pae-funded project. 

Titled 'Creating clarity in the clouds of definitions of and for Māori Economic Development', Rawinia Kamau and Richard Jefferies defined and framed their approach, drawing out distinctions between Western and Indigenous approaches. Richard offered interesting insight from his board meetings with Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd. and kiwifruit operations. Like any other corporations, these are always pleased to announce their profits, achieved as much by screwing down labour as expansion and investment. 

As Richard pointed out, Of course, tribal shareholders have whanau subject to that screwing down...

Richard recalled his time at Matsui, and the insights he had on Japanese thinking that promotes Japan ahead of anywhere and anyone else.

I then threw out a quick presentation on Maori and innovation, critiquing the Flat world approach that assumes, among other things, that geography and culture don't matter.

Then came a fascinating presentation by Dr. Sean Kerins from the Centre  for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University. Called 'Building for the bottom-up: Indigenous development initiatives in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia.' Working with Waanyi and Garawa peoples, Sean outlined how they had achieved better biodiversity and successful fire management through traditional approaches to country.  

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Simon Lambert

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